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5 to Go -- Marlins/Nationals (Wednesday)

            After being eliminated on Tuesday, the Marlins are sprinkling a few new faces into the lineup. Gaby Sanchez (1B) gets his first big-league start while Cameron Maybin (CF) bats in the second spot. Matt Treanor goes behind the plate for John Baker, who is nursing a sore left knee. But manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Marlins will send out their regulars when they face the Mets this weekend.

            Did anyone happen to notice that the Marlins, who have the lowest payroll in the majors, were eliminated on the same day as the New York Yankees, who have the highest?

           Larry Beinfest spoke to reporters in the dugout during batting practice with no earthshattering news. But Beinfest re-affirmed the desire to retool the roster to conform to the organization's emphasis on pitching, speed and defense. So look for the Marlins to shed some of their power (along with payroll) in exchange for leather and pure hitters.

          Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, CF Cameron Maybin, 3B Jorge Cantu, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, RF Jeremy Hermida, 1B Gaby Sanchez, C Matt Treanor, P Josh Johnson.

          Nationals: 2B Emilio Bonifacio, SS Alberto Gonzalez, CF Lastings Milledge, RF Elijah Dukes, 1B Kory Casto, 3B Pete Orr, C Wil Nieves, LF Roger Bernadina, P Tim Redding.


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As far as I am concerned, the season was not a success. If anything, most of what happened two years ago was undone as well. When this core were all rookies, it was ok to miss the playoffs. But now, with three years of experience, there's no excuses. Hermida, Jacobs and Willingham never became what they could have. Obviously Hanley will be the cornerstone of the team for years to come, and Johnson and Nolasco should be around for a while as well, and maybe Uggla too. All of those promising bullpen arms haven't worked out too well either. Anibal Sanchez still has time, and Maybin might be something, but Miller has not shown much of anything. It's true that the payroll was very low, but the players on the team were experienced. If you replace all the young players with veterans of similar output, the payroll would have been much higher, so I don't buy the low payroll as an excuse.

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